Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

While on logic……

23 Mar

A classic one restated! 

Recently, while I was working in the flower beds in my front garden, my neighbours stopped to chat as they returned home from walking their dog.

During our friendly conversation I asked their little girl what she wanted to be when she grew up. She said she wanted to be Prime Minister someday.

Both of her parents, Labour Party members, were standing there, so I asked her, “If you were Prime Minister what would be the first thing you would do?”

She replied… “I’d give food and houses to all the homeless people.”

Her parents beamed with pride!

“Wow…..what a worthy goal!” I said. “But you don’t have to wait until you’re Prime Minister to do that!” I told her.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

So I told her, “You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull out the weeds, and trim my hedge, and I’ll pay you £50. Then you can go over to the shop, where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the £50 to use toward food and a new house.”

She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Why doesn’t the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the £50?”

I said, “Welcome to the Conservative Party.”

Her parents aren’t speaking to me anymore.


How to Stop Stress From Ruining Your Health

18 Mar


A thought-provoking TED talk from a Stanford psychologist suggests that the problem isn’t your stress but your attitude towards stress. Could the distinction save your life?

What’s the 15th largest cause of death in the United States?

If you guessed homicide, skin cancer, or AIDS, nice try, but not correct. According to a fascinating TED talk by Stanford University health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, new studies suggest the answer might be stress. A large study, she reveals, estimated that stress kills up to 20,000 Americans a year.

So how on earth could McGonigal go on to suggest that you make stress your friend? It turns out that only a particular kind of stress takes a serious toll of your health.

What kind? The kind you believe is bad for you.

Stress Isn’t Bad for Your Health…

Marshaling a boatload of scientific data, McGonigal explains that what makes stress harmful isn’t the basic physical reaction that causes your heart to pound and your palms to sweat, but your belief that this is a bad feeling.

Think of those changes as a positive mechanism your body has implemented to prepare you to meet challenges and your constricted blood vessels relax, ensuring that elevated heart rate isn’t damaging. Instead, it’s roughly similar to what happens in the body when we experience joy or courage.

“When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress,” McGonigal says. You can, she believes, actually “get better at stress” so it’s no longer harmful to your health.

…Thinking Stress Is Bad for You Is.

What’s more, she continues, your body’s stress response actually has other benefits based on the hormone oxytocin. Generally known in the popular press as “the cuddle hormone,” McGonigal reveals it is also released when you’re stressed. You wouldn’t necessarily think a high-pressure situation would be a great time for a cuddle, but oxytocin is actually there to drive you to seek social support to help you in difficult times.

“When life is difficult,” she emphasizes, “your stress response wants you to be surrounded by people who care about you.” And Oxytocin doesn’t just drive you to build up your social connections and, with them, your own resilience to stress, it’s also a natural anti-inflammatory that pushes your blood vessels to stay relaxed and helps to heal any stress-induced cardiovasculatory damage.

Your body, in other words, has built-in stress protection. As long as you understand this and both embrace your stress rather than battling it and reach out for social support when you’re under pressure, “the harmful effects of stress on your health are not inevitable,” McGonigal concludes. “When you choose to connect with others under stress, you can create resilience.”

Check out the complete talk below. If you have a lot of stress, it’s 15-minutes that could save your life.

Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend


4 Jun



第三天一早,小和尚又抱着那块大石头来到了古董店,依然有一些人围观,有一些人谈论:“这是什么石头啊?在哪儿出土的呢?是哪个朝代的呀?是做什么用的呢?”终于有一个人过来问价:“小和尚,你这块石头多少钱卖啊?”小和尚依然不声不语,伸出了两个指头。“20000元?”小和尚睁大眼睛,张大嘴巴,惊讶地大叫一声:“啊?!”那位客人以为自己出价太低,气坏了小和尚,立刻纠正说:“不!不!不!我说错了,我是要给你200000元!” “200000元!”小和尚听到这里,立刻抱起石头,飞奔回山上去见师父,气喘吁吁地说:“师父,师父,这下我们可发达了,今天的施主出价200000元买我们的石头!现在您总可以告诉我,我人生最大的价值是什么了吧?”

不怕别人看不起你,就怕你自己看不起自己。谁说你没有价值?除非你把自己当作破石头放在烂泥中,没有人能够给你的人生下任何的定义。你选择怎样的道路,将决定你拥有怎样的人生。 说的太好了。受教。

为什么一个老板再难,也不会轻言放弃,而一个员工做得不顺就想逃走,为什么一对夫妻再吵再大矛盾,也不会轻易离婚,而一对情侣常为一些很小的事就分开了。说到底,你在一件事,一段关系上的投入多少,决定你能承受多大的压力,能取得多大的成功,能坚守多长时间。 冯仑说,伟大都是熬出来的。为什么用熬,因为普通人承受不了的委屈你得承受,普通人需要别人理解安慰鼓励,但你没有,普通人用对抗消极指责来发泄情绪,但你必须看到爱和光,在任何事情上学会转化消化,普通人需要一个肩膀在脆弱的时候靠一靠,而你就是别人依靠的肩膀。 孝庄对康熙说:孙儿,大清国最大的危机不是外面的千军万马,最大的危难,在你自己的内心。

我是一切的根源,要想改变一切,首先要改变自己! 学习是改变自己的根本


Jonathan Ive: Apple’s goal isn’t to make money

31 Jul

By Olivia Solon 30 July 12

Apple’s goal is not to make money, but to make good products, said Jonathan Ive, senior vice president of industrial design at Apple, speaking at the British Embassy’s Creative Summit.

“We are really pleased with our revenues but our goal isn’t to make money. It sounds a little flippant, but it’s the truth. Our goal and what makes us excited is to make great products. If we are successful people will like them and if we are operationally competent, we will make money,” he said.

He explained how, in the 90s, Apple was very close to bankruptcy and that “you learn a lot about vital corporations through non-vital corporations”. When Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997, his focus was not on making money — “His observation was that the products weren’t good enough. His resolve was to make better products.” This was a different approach from other attempts to turn the company around, which had focused first and foremost on cost savings and revenue generation.

“I refute that design is important. Design is a prerequisite. Good design — innovation — is really hard,” said Ive, explaining how it is possible to be both a craftsperson and a mass manufacturer with discipline and focus. “We say no to a lot of things that we want to do and are intrigued by so that we only work on a manageable amount of products and can invest an incredible amount of care on each of them.”

He talked about artist Augustus Pugin, who famously rallied against mass production during the industrial revolution. “Pugin felt there was a godlessness in making things in volume. He was completely wrong. You can make one chair carelessly, thoughtlessly, that is valueless. Or you can make a phone [that will eventually go on to be mass produced] and invest so many years of care and have so many people so driven to make the very best phone way beyond any sort of functional imperative that there is incredible value.”

He said: “Really great design is hard. Good is the enemy of great. Competent design is not too much of a stretch. But if you are trying to do something new, you have challenges on so many axes.”

Ive added that he “can’t describe” how excited he still feels to be part of the creative process. “To me I still think it’s remarkable that at a point in time on a Tuesday afternoon there isn’t an idea and then suddenly later on there is an idea. Invariably they start as a tentative, barely-formed thought that becomes a conversation between a couple of people.”

Apple then builds a prototype that embodies the idea and that’s when the idea goes through “the most incredible transition”. “You go from something tentative and exclusive to something tangible and — by nature of it being a thing — a table of people can sit around it and start to understand it; it becomes inclusive and it galvanises and points to a direction for effort.”

Ive closed by reiterating the Apple mantra that “we don’t do market research”. “It will guarantee mediocrity and will only work out whether you are going to offend anyone.” He said it is a designer’s responsibility to understand potential opportunities and be familiar and fluent with technologies that could enable the creation of products that fit with those opportunities.

Apple TV A5 SoC is 32nm, Harvested dual-core A5

21 Apr

by Anand Lal Shimpi on 4/11/2012 2:03:00 PM
Posted in smartphones , Tablets , SoC , Apple , Apple TV , A5

The 3rd generation Apple TV ships with what Apple tells us is a single-core A5 SoC. After delayering the chip to the transistor gate layer in the new Apple TV, Chipworks just confirmed that the SoC is actually a 32nm dual-core part – presumably with one core disabled.

The iPhone 4S’ A5 and the A5X used in the new iPad are both built on Samsung’s 45nm LP process. This new A5 in the Apple TV is built on Samsung’s 32nm High-K + Metal Gate (gate first) process. When transitioning to a new process node, it’s always advisable to have a “pipe-cleaner” part. A small, not overly complex design that you can use to test the process and use to discover any bugs. It also helps if this is a lower volume part as there’s always a risk of the new manufacturing process being unable to deliver high enough yields. Apple testing Samsung’s 32nm process in the new Apple TV makes a lot of sense. There are far fewer Apple TVs sold than iPhones or iPads, so any troubles on the manufacturing side shouldn’t really matter. Furthermore, Apple could also ship die-harvested (1 core disabled) 45nm A5s into Apple TVs if things get really bad.

Either way, it’s clear that Apple is testing Samsung’s 32nm process and this is likely the node we’ll see debut in the next iPhone. As our own Brian Klug pointed out, this is the same part that’s used in the new $399 version of the iPad 2 (iPad 2,4). Assuming Samsung’s 32nm HK+MG process isn’t horribly leaky at this point, we should actually see somewhat better battery life out of this new iPad 2 vs the older 45nm version.

CPU Specification Comparison
CPU Manufacturing Process Cores Transistor Count Die Size
Apple A5X 45nm 2 ? 163mm2
Apple A5 45nm 2 ? 122mm2
Apple A5 (3rd gen Apple TV) 32nm 2 ? 69.6mm2
Intel Sandy Bridge 4C 32nm 4 995M 216mm2
Intel Sandy Bridge 2C (GT1) 32nm 2 504M 131mm2
Intel Sandy Bridge 2C (GT2) 32nm 2 624M 149mm2
NVIDIA Tegra 3 40nm 4+1 ? ~80mm2
NVIDIA Tegra 2 40nm 2 ? 49mm2

Source: Chipworks


The Lost Steve Jobs Tapes

21 Apr

The Lost Steve Jobs Tapes

A treasure trove of unearthed interviews, conducted by the writer who knew him best, reveals how Jobs’s ultimate success at Apple can be traced directly to his so-called wilderness years.



If Steve Jobs’s life were staged as an opera, it would be a tragedy in three acts. And the titles would go something like this: Act I–The Founding of Apple Computer and the Invention of the PC Industry; Act II–The Wilderness Years; and Act III–A Triumphant Return and Tragic Demise.

The first act would be a piquant comedy about the brashness of genius and the audacity of youth, abruptly turning ominous when our young hero is cast out of his own kingdom. The closing act would plumb the profound irony of a balding and domesticated high-tech rock star coming back to transform Apple far beyond even his own lofty expectations, only to fall mortally ill and then slowly, excruciatingly wither away, even as his original creation miraculously bulks up into the biggest digital dynamo of them all. Both acts are picaresque tales that end with a surge of deep pathos worthy of Shakespeare.

But that second act–The Wilderness Years–would be altogether different in tone and spirit. In fact, the soul of this act would undermine its title, a convenient phrase journalists and biographers use to describe his 1985 to 1996 hiatus from Apple, as if the only meaningful times in Jobs’s life were those spent in Cupertino. In fact, this middle period was the most pivotal of his life. And perhaps the happiest. He finally settled down, married, and had a family. He learned the value of patience and the ability to feign it when he lost it. Most important, his work with the two companies he led during that time, NeXT and Pixar, turned him into the kind of man, and leader, who would spur Apple to unimaginable heights upon his return.

A Conversation With Steve Jobs

Read highlights from Brent Schlender’s taped interviews.

Indeed, what at first glance seems like more wandering for

the barefoot hippie who dropped out of Reed College to hitchhike around India, is in truth the equivalent of Steve Jobs attending business school. In other words, he grew. By leaps and bounds. In every aspect of his being. With a little massaging, this middle act could even be the plotline for a Pixar movie. It certainly fits the simple mantra John Lasseter ascribes to all the studio’s successes, from Toy Story to Up: “It’s gotta be about how the main character changes for the better.”

I had covered Jobs for Fortune and The Wall Street Journal since 1985, but I didn’t come to fully appreciate the importance of these “lost” years until after his death last fall. Rummaging through the storage shed, I discovered some three dozen tapes holding recordings of extended interviews–some lasting as long as three hours–that I’d conducted with him periodically over the past 25 years. (Snippets are scattered throughout this story.) Many I had never replayed–a couple hadn’t even been transcribed before now. Some were interrupted by his kids bolting into the kitchen as we talked. During others, he would hit the pause button himself before saying something he feared might come back to bite him. Listening to them again with the benefit of hindsight, the ones that took place during that interregnum jump out as especially enlightening.

The lessons are powerful: Jobs matured as a manager and a boss; learned how to make the most of partnerships; found a way to turn his native stubbornness into a productive perseverance. He became a corporate architect, coming to appreciate the scaffolding of a business just as much as the skeletons of real buildings, which always fascinated him. He mastered the art of negotiation by immersing himself in Hollywood, and learned how to successfully manage creative talent, namely the artists at Pixar. Perhaps most important, he developed an astonishing adaptability that was critical to the hit-after-hit-after-hit climb of Apple’s last decade. All this, during a time many remember as his most disappointing.

Eleven years is a big chunk of a lifetime. Especially when one’s time on earth is cut short. Moreover, many people–particularly creative types–are often their most prolific during their thirties and early forties. With all the heady success of Apple during Jobs’s last 14 years, it’s all too easy to dismiss these “lost” years. But in truth, they transformed everything. As I listened again to those hours and hours of tapes, I realized they were, in fact, his most productive.

Steve Jobs did not wander aimlessly into the wilderness after being ousted from Apple in 1985. No happy camper, he was loaded for bear; burning to wreak revenge upon those who had spuriously shoved him into exile, and obsessed with proving to the world that he was no one-trick pony. Within days, he abruptly sold off all but one share of his Apple stock and, flush with a small fortune of about $70 million, set about creating another computer company, this one called NeXT. The startup ostensibly was a vehicle for revolutionizing higher education with powerful, beautiful computers. In reality, it was a bet that one day he would get the better of Apple.

Steve Jobs drove a hard bargain with George Lucas, buying the group that became Pixar for a mere $5 million. Lucas never regretted the sale, however. In fact, much of Pixar’s postproduction was done at his studios on Skywalker Ranch.

Jorge Colombo’s IPad Illustrations Of Steve Jobs

Over all the years Jobs was away from Apple, I can’t recall him saying one good thing about the company’s brass. Early on, he whined about how CEO John Sculley had “poisoned” the culture of the place. As the years went by, and Apple’s fortunes dimmed, Jobs’s attacks became more pointed: “Right now it’s like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz: ‘I’m melting. I’m melting,’ ” he told me in the mid-1990s. “The jig is up. They can’t seem to come out with a great computer to save their lives. They need to spend big on industrial design, reintroduce the hipness factor. But no, they hire [Gil] Amelio [as CEO]. It’s as if Nike hired the guy that ran Kinney shoes.”

At NeXT, Jobs was damn well going to deliver a great computer. He was going to do it with massive resources, raising well over $100 million from the likes of H. Ross Perot, Japanese printer maker Canon, and Carnegie Mellon University. He was going to do it with an astonishing automated factory in Fremont, California, where every surface and piece of equipment would be painted in specific shades of gray, black, and white. He was going to do it in style, working with a full-time architect to give the corporate headquarters in Redwood City a distinctive, austere aesthetic; NeXT HQ looked much like the interior of one of today’s Apple Stores. The centerpiece was a staircase that seemed to float in air.

He was also going to do it with a revolutionary organization, something he dubbed the Open Corporation. “Think of it this way,” he explained. “If you look at your own body, your cells are specialized, but every single one of them has the master plan for the whole body. We think our company will be the best possible company if every single person working here understands the whole master plan and can use that as a yardstick to make decisions against. We think a lot of little and medium and big decisions will be made better if all our people know that.” It was a bold theory.

If Jobs’s time in exile can be seen as an extended trip through business school, the heady start of NeXT represents those early days when a student thinks he knows everything and is in a rush to show that to the world. In fact, Jobs had just about every detail wrong. The Open Corporation was a dismal failure in practice. Its hallmark was that employee salaries were not kept secret; there was even an attempt to impose uniform compensation. It didn’t work, of course; all kinds of side deals were cut to satiate key employees.

More concretely, Jobs had the whole business plan wrong. It would be two years before NeXT delivered anything to customers. When the NeXTcube computer finally did arrive, it proved too expensive to ever command a serious market. Ultimately, Jobs was forced to admit that the undeniably beautiful machine he and his engineering team concocted was a flop. He laid off most of the staff and turned the company from hardware to software, first to rewrite NeXT’s operating system, called NextSTEP, for Intel-based computers. The company also engineered an ingenious development environment called WebObjects, which eventually became its best-selling program.

Jobs didn’t know that WebObjects would later prove instrumental in building the online store for Apple and for iTunes, or that NextSTEP would be his ticket back to Apple. The road for NeXT was always rocky, perhaps appropriate for something that was born out of a desire for revenge. It was a good thing he had something else going on the side.

Of the three companies Jobs helped create, Pixar was the purest corporate and organizational expression of his nature. If NeXT was a travail of spite and malice, Pixar was a labor of love.

The Pixar story began even before Jobs left Apple. In early 1985, Apple fellow Alan Kay called his attention to the computer Graphics Group (GG) skunk works in San Rafael, California, an ill-fitting piece of the filmmaking production puzzle George Lucas had assembled for his Skywalker Ranch studios. It was little more than a team of 25 engineers–including a young “user interface designer” named John Lasseter–who desperately wanted to continue to work together even though Lucas, then embroiled in the costly aftermath of a divorce, was looking to sell.

Jobs’s trip to take a look-see left an indelible impression. GG’s head geek, Ed Catmull, showed him some short demo films made by Lasseter, who was neither a programmer nor a user interface designer, but a talented animator who had left Disney and been given his faux title by Catmull as a way to convince Lucas to put him on the payroll. The films weren’t much to look at, but they were three-dimensional, they were generated by computer rather than hand-drawn, and they displayed the whimsy of a master storyteller.

Fascinated, Jobs tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade Apple’s board to buy the group. “These guys were way ahead of us on graphics, way ahead,” Jobs remembered. “They were way ahead of anybody. I just knew in my bones that this was going to be very important.” After getting bounced from Apple, Jobs went back to Lucas and drove a hard bargain. He paid $5 million for the group’s assets and provided another $5 million in working capital for the company, which was christened Pixar. In hindsight, the price was a pittance. But in 1985, nobody would have expected Pixar to one day outstrip NeXT. Certainly not Jobs: He didn’t build any fancy digs for his motley crew of animators and engineers, who for years made do with used furniture and dowdy offices.

Once again, what Jobs knew in his bones didn’t translate into getting the details right. As with NeXT, Jobs initially intended the company to be a purveyor of high-performance computer hardware, this time for two frightfully niche markets: the special-effects departments of Hollywood studios and medical-imaging specialists. By 1989, however, Pixar had sold only a few hundred of its Pixar Image Computers, faux-granite painted cubes originally stickered at $135,000, that had to be paired with expensive engineering workstations to do anything.

This time, the strategy pivot came from the talent. In 1990, Lasseter and Catmull told Jobs they could make a business of creating computer-animated TV commercials–perhaps one day they could even make, and sell, cartoons! Jobs was smitten with Catmull and Lasseter. They were always teaching him something new. Could they deliver on the ultimate promise of the place, to use computers to create an entirely new kind of animation for the cinema and thus upend the entire business model of animation? Jobs decided to focus on this one disruptive opportunity. It was an instinct he would return to, repeatedly, when he rejoined Apple.

In 1991, he fired much of the Pixar staff, announced the new direction to the survivors, and reorganized so that the studio could pursue one animated project at a time. “I got everybody together,” Jobs said, “and I said, ‘At our heart, we really are a content company. Let’s transition out of everything else. Let’s go for it. This is why I bought into Pixar. This is why most of you are here. Let’s go for it. It’s a higher-risk strategy, but the rewards are gonna be much higher, and it’s where our hearts are.’ ” Then he and CFO Lawrence Levy went to work learning everything they could about the dynamics and economics of the animation business. If they were going to start making cartoons, they were going to do it right.

The shift at Pixar occurred at about the same time as the major turn in Jobs’s personal life: the blossoming of his romance with Laurene Powell. In 1991, two years after she met him following an informal lecture at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, Laurene was his pregnant bride, married by a Buddhist monk at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park.

Jobs had never seemed like the marrying type and hadn’t shown much of a sense of responsibility for Lisa, his first daughter, who was born out of wedlock in 1978. He denied paternity initially, even though he had named an Apple computer after her. Egotistical, narcissistic, and manipulative since childhood, Jobs often behaved like a spoiled brat who was accustomed to getting his way.

His personality didn’t change overnight after meeting Laurene, but his selfish ways did begin to moderate, especially after his children, Reed, Erin, and Eve, came into the family in 1991, 1995, and 1998, respectively. As is often the case with new parents, Jobs behaved as if he were the first person in the world to discover and fully appreciate the joys of family life. He literally stayed closer to home, converting a clapboard storefront building catty-corner from the Palo Alto Whole Foods into a satellite office so his commute would be a short bike ride. (He didn’t use the office all that much after returning to Apple.)

My bureau was a block up the street, and occasionally I’d see him out for a stroll, usually with someone in tow. He always said he could think better when he walked. During these years, his fame had subsided somewhat, so it wasn’t like encountering one of the Beatles at the supermarket. People pretty much left him alone.

I bumped into him on one of those walks when he was alone, and wound up joining him as he shopped for a new bicycle for Laurene’s upcoming birthday. This was before you could do your homework on the Internet, but he had done his research, so there wasn’t much shopping involved. We were in and out of Palo Alto Bicycles in 10 minutes. “I’d never have Andrea do something like this,” he said, referring to his longtime administrative assistant. “I like buying presents for my family myself.”

Even after he went back to Apple, there was nothing Jobs liked more than spending time at home. Not that he wasn’t a workaholic. We were iChat buddies for several years, so his name would pop up whenever he was working at his computer at home. Almost invariably, he was in front of his Mac until after midnight. We’d occasionally have a video chat, and if it took place early in the evening, I’d often see one of his children in the background looking on.

Running Pixar was a pleasure for Jobs. He loved to come down to the studios to watch talented actors like Tom Hanks voice their lines. He deeply admired the company’s chief creative officer, John Lasseter, who directed Toy Story and A Bug’s Life.

In hindsight, Jobs’s having a real family might have been the best thing to happen to Pixar. He was most effective as a marketer and a business leader when he could think of himself as the primary customer. What would he want from a computer-animated movie, both for himself and for his kids? That was the only market-research question he ever asked. He had always demanded great production values and design for his computer products. He was just as picky about what Pixar produced. Lasseter and Catmull couldn’t have asked for a more empathetic benefactor.

Shortly after his decision in 1990 to let Lasseter and Catmull start producing commercials and short films, Jobs pulled a rabbit out of his hat: He negotiated a $26 million marketing distribution deal with Disney that provided enough capital to make a full-length, computer-animated motion picture. Because Disney had been a Pixar customer, licensing its software for managing conventional animators, then-CEO Michael Eisner and his head of animation, Jeffrey Katzenberg, were fully aware that the company’s technology was solid and unique, and that Lasseter showed flashes of genius as a new breed of animator.

Jobs was candid about the two Disney execs, telling me that both “make the mistake of not appreciating technology. They just assume that they can throw money at things and fix them. They don’t have a clue.” Once upon a time, he would have been enraged by the ignorance he perceived. When I asked him what had soured an earlier partnership between IBM and NeXT, he ranted: “The people at the top of IBM knew nothing about computers. Nothing. Nothing. The people at the top of Disney,” on the other hand, “know a lot about what a really good film is and what is not.”

Even though he believed that Katzenberg and Eisner “had no clue” about how far Pixar could take them–Jobs was convinced that Pixar’s technology could revolutionize the business model for animation, which was then primarily a hand-drawn art–he recognized that the partnership had more or less saved the company: “It’s the biggest thing I’ve done for Pixar,” he said. So he found a common bond between the companies. “There was a certain amount of fear and trepidation, but what always happened was that making a great movie was the focal point of everybody’s concerns. One way to drive fear out of a relationship is to realize that your partner’s values are the same as yours, that what you care about is exactly what they care about. In my opinion, that drives fear out and makes for a great partnership, whether it’s a corporate partnership or a marriage.”

Then he set about designing an organization that could deliver a great movie–and many more. His foray into Hollywood had taught him a great deal. “I started to learn about how films are made. Basically, it’s bands of gypsies getting together to make a film. After the film, they disband. The problem with that is we want to build a company, not just make a single movie.”

This time, there was no flighty discussion of an “open” corporation. “Incentive structures work,” he told me. “So you have to be very careful of what you incent people to do, because various incentive structures create all sorts of consequences that you can’t anticipate. Everybody at Pixar is incented to build the company: whether they’re working on the film; whether they’re working on a potential direct-to-video product; whether they’re working on a CD-ROM. Whatever their combination of creative and technical talent may be, we want them incented to make the whole company successful.”

There was another compensation detail that reflected how completely Jobs was able to mesh the values of Silicon Valley with Hollywood. Pixar paid its animators just as well as its software geniuses (beginning an escalation in salaries that Katzenberg accelerated later that decade at DreamWorks). “We value them both equally,” Jobs said of Pixar’s two talent camps. “Some people say we should value one higher than the other, but we value them equally, we pay them equally, they have stock equally. We made that decision very early. Ed Catmull made that decision, actually. We will always do that; that’s one of Pixar’s core values.”

These were the decisions that cemented the company’s future success. When Disney surprised Jobs by scheduling Pixar’s first movie as its 1995 holiday feature, his team was ready, with a little picture called Toy Story. And Jobs, armed with a renegotiated Disney deal for three pictures, was ready too; Pixar went public 10 days after Toy Story‘s stunning debut, raising nearly $100 million.

After that, it was as if the company hit the fast-forward button. And for the rest of his life, Jobs enjoyed Pixar as he enjoyed little else. Now was the time to throw away the used furniture and build a proper studio in Emeryville, California. He relished this so much more than the NeXT headquarters–after all, this time he and his team had earned it. The design blended aspects of a Hollywood lot and an old-fashioned brick factory building, perfect for his star animators and programmers, perfect for working with Tom Hanks, Ellen DeGeneres, Owen Wilson, and all the other stars who enjoyed voicing Pixar characters. The custom-made bricks came in 12 shades, and if the colors weren’t distributed evenly enough, Jobs would have the bricklayers pull them down and do it again. He would visit the construction site as often as he could as it came together, often clambering around the buildings at night, when no one but the security guards were around.

He also created something called Pixar University for the staff, where his brilliant engineers and clever artists and smart financial people could take classes in all kinds of subjects, to better appreciate what their coworkers did. There were classes in the visual arts, dance, computer programming, foreign languages, drama, mathematics, creative writing, and even accounting. “It is,” he once told me, “the coolest place to work in the world.”

When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, one of the first things he did was trim the product line, focusing employees on four clear projects. He liked to explain his strategy while drawing on a whiteboard, like a professor of management.

For all the joy that Pixar brought Jobs, it was NeXT that got him back to Apple. After failing to develop new software architecture for the Mac and bungling a joint venture with IBM, Apple was on its deathbed in 1996. NeXT had a powerful, modern operating system and one very persuasive storyteller, who managed to convince CEO Amelio that his stepchild could be Apple’s salvation. In late 1996, Jobs sold NeXT to Apple for $400 million, which he used to pay back Perot, Canon, and some other early investors. Within six months, Jobs had mounted a putsch and became Apple’s “iCEO,” with the i standing for what proved to be a deeply false “interim.”

The ensuing tale, the saga of the modern Apple, is simply the story of the man who emerged from that 11-year business school and implemented the lessons he had learned along the way. As was true when he started at Pixar and NeXT, Jobs had many of the details wrong when he first returned to the Apple helm. He imagined that the company’s business would always be selling computers. He thought that what was then called the “information highway” would be primarily of interest to businesses. He dismissed the idea that computer networks would carry lots of video.

But some of the tougher years at NeXT and Pixar had taught him how to stretch a company’s finances, which helped him ride out his first couple of years back, when Apple was still reliant on a weak jumble of offerings. With newfound discipline, he quickly streamlined the company’s product lines. And just as he had at Pixar, he aligned the company behind those projects. In a way that had never been done before at a technology company–but that looked a lot like an animation studio bent on delivering one great movie a year–Jobs created the organizational strength to deliver one hit after another, each an extension of Apple’s position as the consumer’s digital hub, each as strong as its predecessor. If there’s anything that parallels Apple’s decade-long string of hits–iMac, PowerBook, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad, to list just the blockbusters–it’s Pixar’s string of winners, including Toy StoryMonsters, Inc.,Finding NemoThe IncrediblesWALL-E, and Up. These insanely great products could have come only from insanely great companies, and that’s what Jobs had learned to build.

Jobs had learned how to treat talent at Pixar; he spoke to me about his colleagues there differently from the way he discussed his NeXT coworkers. When he returned to Apple, he often described his very top management team in the same warm terms, with the occasional notable exception. As he had with animators and programmers at Pixar, he integrated designers and technologists at Apple. He cultivated a team he could count on, including the great designer Jonathan Ive, who is to Apple what Lasseter is to Pixar. “We’ve done so many hardware products where Jony and I have looked at each other and said, ‘We don’t know how to make it any better than this, we just don’t know how to make it,’ ” Jobs told me. “But we always do; we realize another way. And then it’s not long after the new thing comes out that we look at the older thing and go, ‘How can we ever have done that?’ ”

In the months before the official launch of the iPod, Jobs loved testing out demo versions. But he couldn’t do so in public because he didn’t want anyone asking about his new device. One place where he could experiment was the corporate jet.

When I listened to this quote again last month, I was struck by something else in it: the combination of adaptability and intuition that proved so critical to Apple’s rise. Jobs may have been impulsive at times, but he was always methodical. This kind of nature suited an autodidact with eclectic tastes, empowering him either to obsess impatiently about a pressing problem that had to be dealt with immediately–much like an engineer–or else to let an idea steep and incubate until he got it right. This is why Jobs was so often right on the big picture, even when he got the details wrong. Open salaries was a dumb detail of the Open Corporation, but its core idea, of a workplace where every single person understands the company’s goals, is something that most organizations get wrong and that Apple has gotten so right for well over a decade. If Jobs was initially wrong about Apple getting into phones and handheld devices, he was right on about the big idea of the computer at the center of a whirling digital universe. Hence Apple’s ability to deliver a great iTunes store after the iPod, even though it was never planned. Hence the great iPhone, despite Jobs’s dismissal of “Swiss Army knife” digital devices.

There was one other big lesson he learned from his Hollywood adventure: People remember stories more than products. “The technology we’ve been laboring on over the past 20 years becomes part of the sedimentary layer,” he told me once. “But when Snow White was re-released [on DVD, in 2001], we were one of the 28 million families that went out and bought a copy of it. This was a film that is 60 years old, and my son was watching it and loving it. I don’t think anybody’s going to be beating on a Macintosh 60 years from now.”

Once he realized he really was going to die, Jobs quietly began to think more seriously about the story of his own life and creations. At his memorial service, Laurene remarked that what struck her most upon really getting to know him was his “fully formed aesthetic sense.” He knew exactly what he liked, and he analyzed it until he could tell you precisely why. Jobs always felt that architecture could be a truly lasting expression of one’s aesthetic, reaching beyond the limits of one’s lifetime. It wasn’t incidental, then, that his last public appearance was at a Cupertino City Council meeting to unveil the breathtaking four-story, doughnut-shaped “mother ship” that’s nearly a half-mile in diameter and that will one day become Apple’s headquarters.

Of course, Jobs wanted his own official story to measure up. So he enlisted Walter Isaacson–creator of a virtual Mount Rushmore of best-selling biographies of Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and Henry Kissinger–to tell his tale. Like those giants, Jobs is a man whose history will be told many a time, with fresh insights and new reporting. In the retelling, it may well be that the lessons from his “lost” years in the “wilderness” are the ones that will prove most inspiring.


25 Dec

“You can’t be merry by yourself. Sure, you can be content, happy, possibly even delirious. But merriment requires a group, and that group is almost always a group you can see and touch, one that’s sharing the same molecules of air, face to face. The digital revolution continues to get deeper, wider and more important. But it has made no progress at all at increasing merriment. That’s up to us. – Seth Godin